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More Victorian in character than most of the towns on the Eastern Shore, Parksley resulted from the railroad's drive down the peninsula in 1884. Henry R. Bennett, a traveling salesman, conceived of a model town and, with friends, purchased 160 acres and laid out a gridiron on either side of the tracks. At the center lay the town square, occupied by the railroad station and a rail siding; the commercial area surrounded it. Bennett set aside land for churches, schools, and parks and banned liquor. Streets are named for Bennett family members, notables such as William Lloyd Garrison, and railroad executives such as Alexander Cassatt. The too-pretty railroad station sitting in the center is not original but came from the town of Hopeton about three miles up the tracks; it was moved and restored in 1988. It houses the Eastern Shore of Virginia Railroad Museum. Unfortunately much of the downtown has been modernized. The best row of Victorian-era houses is on Mary Street, on the east side of the tracks.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Parksley", [Onancock, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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